defyingfibromyalgia

My journey from CAN'T to CAN – one workout at a time.


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The Truth About Overcoming Fibromyalgia: If I Can Do It, You Can Do It

I’ve written about this several times, and I’m sure I’ll write about it several times more.  The thing is, most people out there aren’t quite hearing what I’m saying.  My journey has been nothing short of amazing.  But here’s the kicker: every single person out there could experience results like this IF they were willing to TRY.  That’s where I lost most of you.  But, I’m not one to give up that easily.  And so I’m going to lay it all out: what I did, how I did it, and how you can do it too.

The Decision

This is step one.  First you DECIDE you want a better life.  That you DESERVE a better life.  For me, this came during a serious ROCK BOTTOM situation.  In bed for a couple of weeks, in excruciating pain (as usual), and completely SICK of feeling that way.  That’s when I knew this wasn’t the life for me.  That I had to do something about it.  Now, no one can make this decision but YOU.  Just like no one can do the work but YOU.  This is all up to YOU.

Nutrition, Nutrition, Nutrition

Can I say it again? NUTRITION!  Few things are as frustrating to me as seeing people that claim to want to feel better posting about their fried chicken dinner or McDonald’s excursion with the kids.  THIS IS NOT GOING TO MAKE YOU FEEL BETTER.  THIS IS WHY YOU FEEL LIKE CRAP ALL THE TIME!  Seriously folks, you will NEVER EVER EVER EVER EVER feel better until you CHANGE WHAT YOU EAT.  EVER!

Where do you start?  You start by eliminating processed foods, fast foods, and soft drinks.  YES, REALLY.  Why? Because they are poisoning your body.  Then you identify the foods that are making you sick by keeping a food journal.  Then you eliminate those foods.  The end result is a largely plant-based diet – that means, lots of fruits and veggies with lean, healthy protein.  I personally am vegan, but you can get healthy protein from animal products if you make SMART CHOICES.  Since I don’t eat meat, I can’t really help you identify the right meats to eat, but a little research will steer you in the right direction.

Shakeology helped me get my nutrition on the right track and it helps me keep it there.  It has been one of the single biggest factors in my transformation.  Send me a message if you’d like more info on that.

Fitness is HARD WORK

I know what you’re going to say: I CAN’T workout because I’m in pain all the time.  Guess what?  So was I when I started.  But I did it anyway.  You have to be willing to FIGHT to make progress. Once I corrected nutrition and started using Shakeology, I was able to get moving and start working out.  As you get fit, lose weight, and build strength, that’s when fibromyalgia starts to lose and that’s when you start to win. If you aren’t willing to work hard, fibromyalgia will always win.  ALWAYS.  It’s really that simple.

There is No Magic Pill

If you’re waiting for me to tell you about a magic pill, you’re in the wrong place.  If you’re waiting for me to tell you about a cure, I just did.  Fitness, nutrition, and HARD WORK.  That’s your cure.  I HAVE NO SYMPTOMS.  NONE.  Your cure is fitness.  Your cure is nutrition.  YOU CAN FEEL BETTER.  YOU CAN HAVE YOUR LIFE BACK.  Put in the work and you too can feel better, look better, and be FREE FROM FIBROMYALGIA.

I’m not saying the only way to do it is with the programs I’ve used.  I personally believe Beachbody products are the best out there because I am living proof.  BUT find what works for you and stick with it.  DO SOMETHING. MAKE A CHANGE.  Find your way out of the grips of this horrible condition.  Be willing to FIGHT.  Be willing to COMMIT.  Be willing to WORK HARD.

Complaining = USELESS

I used to complain all the time about my condition.  USED TO.  And a lot of you insist upon complaining day in and day out.  I understand that.  Really I do. BUT, until you STOP COMPLAINING and start focusing on POSITIVITY, nothing will change.  Change your mindset, change your life.  CHOOSE YOUR ATTITUDE.  Shift your focus.  Don’t let fibromyalgia be the center of your life anymore.  CHANGE IT.  Focus on your goals.  Focus on the things you want to do when you conquer your symptoms (not if, when).  Make the choice.  Change your life.

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Get more info on Beachbody products here:

beachbodycoach.com/WendyGordon

myshakeology.com/WendyGordon

myultimatereset.com/WendyGordon


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Think Like a Warrior

Slide1“You have to think like a warrior” ~ Chalene Johnson

Anytime you face a challenge, your mental state is the key to your success.  Even with a fitness challenge – without the right mindset, you will fail.  When I took the first step in this journey, I knew my mindset would have to change.  I’ve always been strong.  I’ve always been a fighter.  But that wasn’t enough.  I really had to become a WARRIOR.  That’s the only way you can survive life’s real challenges.  You coach yourself through those tough parts.  You tell yourself, “you can do this”, and you keep fighting the fight – warrior style.

How Do You Get There?

I think the hardest part in facing something truly CHALLENGING is getting started.  Once you get going, once you put one foot in front of the other, you’ll have some forward mobility.  The simple act of “deciding” is the key.  Making that choice.  Saying to yourself, “I can do this”, is really what it takes to get you started.  A lot of the other skills – the fight, the drive, and the determination – already reside in you.  Otherwise, you wouldn’t even consider facing the challenge in the first place.  Either you’re a fighter or you aren’t.  But only a true fighter can become a warrior.

What Keeps You Going?

There are many days – MANY DAYS – when I absolutely do not want to get up at 6 am and face this ridiculously challenging workout.  Just the other night, we arrived home after a weekend away.  It was Sunday and all day I’d been thinking, “YOU HAVE TO WORKOUT WHEN YOU GET HOME”.  Still, when we finally got home after driving for 9 or 10 hours, I almost convinced myself it was okay to skip it.  To put it off until another day.  It was 8pm and the workout was an hour long.  Heck, I wanted to be in bed at 9.  But, you know what? I did it.  And I felt SO AMAZING afterwards.

What keeps you going?  YOU DO.  You decide to do it.  Or you decide not to.  Whatever the challenge is – it’s up to you.  Yeah, it’s nice to have someone cheering you on, but really it’s all on you.  That’s the true test of life’s biggest challenges.  You have to face them on your own.

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Get more info on Beachbody products here:

beachbodycoach.com/WendyGordon

myshakeology.com/WendyGordon

myultimatereset.com/WendyGordon


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Why Physical Exercise for Fibromyalgia?

For most of us, the diagnosis of Fibromyalgia comes with strict warnings about curbing our activities in order to keep our symptoms at bay. We’re led to believe that with increased activity, our symptoms will worsen. And so, we go about our Fibromyalgia-controlled lives, taking tons of prescription medications to try and minimize the impact of these symptoms so we can go about our day-to-day activities. You know what? This is just plain WRONG!

Now, let’s be clear. I am not a doctor. I do not claim to offer medical advice of any kind. What I do offer is my story and how my symptoms have reacted to exercise.

How do I do it?

Well, the first obstacle to overcome in adding physical exercise to your once-sedentary life is getting started. The key here is to find the right exercise for YOU. Not me. Not your friend. Not your sister that is perfectly healthy. YOU. I started with yoga several years ago – mostly because that’s all I believed I could do. Also, I really love yoga. BUT, it wasn’t enough. Find what works for you. Maybe it’s walking. Maybe it’s using the treadmill at the gym. Maybe you feel like really challenging yourself with something like Turbo Jam or Zumba. Whatever it is, just start. Start carefully. Maintain an awareness of your body and your wellness the entire time. But start.

Once you get the ball rolling and you start feeling what it does for you, I think you’ll be hooked. I sure am. There have been multiple studies in recent years that have proven cardio exercise to be an effective way of minimizing the symptoms of FM. What hasn’t your doctor told you? Hmm. You got me. That’s why I do my own research so I can be in total control of my health, my fitness, and my condition. Relying on someone that is paid to tell you the answers may not always be the best solution.

The Results

Like all things, the results of physical exercise will differ from person to person. I know what the research suggests and I know what has happened to me as a result of dedicating myself to a cardio training program. A few things that can happen as a result of exercising:

  • Strong Muscles. As you strengthen your muscles, your body is better able to ward off pain. The stronger you are, the easier it will be to move. You can prevent muscle atrophy, which is a common result of the lack of movement FM sufferers are instructed to maintain.
  • Energy Levels. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. I have energy. As you know, FM depletes all energy from the body. It’s like you are completely exhausted 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Exercise gives you energy!
  • Happy. It’s been proven time and time again that exercise releases endorphins, which will instantly boost happiness. With depression and anxiety being very common for FM sufferers (including me), this was a HUGE help.
  • Empowerment. This may be the biggest one for me. When I began my training program, I took control. I took BACK control from FM, which I had allowed to have total control for years and years. Actively participating in an exercise program gives you control of the process and it makes you feel powerful. Unstoppable even.
  • Improved Sleep. Hallelujah! I can sleep. There’s nothing like being exhausted 24/7 and unable to sleep. Ever. But that’s what happens for most people with FM when they don’t take measures to improve symptoms. Exercise makes you tired. You sleep. It’s wonderful!

I’m in it for the long haul

I grew up playing tennis. I was very active throughout my childhood and much of my adulthood. Until I was diagnosed. I believed I couldn’t live that life anymore. It was taken from me. But I was wrong. Now that I’ve found my way back to this amazing, active lifestyle, I don’t plan to ever go back. This is a lifestyle change I’ve made for myself. I’ve also made it so that I am able to enjoy hikes, walks, and other activities with James and the rest of my family. I realize not everyone has the same story or the same symptoms. And for some people, this may seem impossible right now.

But, maybe you could try something. Maybe you could decide to go on a ½ mile walk every day for 2 weeks. And then you can go on a 1-mile walk every day for two weeks. And on and on. Maybe, just maybe, you’ll notice something. Maybe you’ll start to feel better. What do you have to lose? Your FM symptoms? Well, I certainly don’t miss mine!


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Recap: Beachbody TurboFire Challenge Week 3

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Dates: June 17 – June 23

Total Workouts: 6

Total Workout Duration: 315 Minutes / 5 1/4 Hours

Nutrition: Beachbody Shakeology Vegan Chocolate DAILY; Vegan Power Diet

Supplements: VegaSport Pre-Workout Energizer; VegaSport Recovery Formula; CoQ10; MSM / Glucosamine

Okay, I’ve made it through another week!  Phew!  As usual, TurboFire was the perfect combination of CHALLENGE and FUN.  That’s why I love it.  I was super impressed with some of my progress this week.  In fact, I think it’s safe to say I AMAZED MYSELF!  So, let’s take a look at the recap so you can see what I mean…

First Impressions

This is week 3 – I can totally do this.  I began with ZERO anxiety and 110% confidence that I would KILL every workout.  And I did.  A positive attitude goes a LONG way!

I made some major strides this week and grew a lot in my strength and durability.  I attribute that to two things: one, it’s been 3 weeks since I moved to a high altitude climate and I think I’m getting used to it; two, I’ve worked my butt off every single day.

Favorites

Well, well, well…  How to pick a favorite?  6 awesome, challenging workouts. 6 days of feeling empowered, strong, and invincible.  Here are a few favorite moments from the week:

  1. HIIT 15 + Tone 30 – Thursday June 20: This is the second time I’d done this workout and, well, it got a LITTLE easier.  The biggest thing?  I CAN JUMP!  When doing plyometric training, jumping is key.  When you have FM, jumping is HARD.  But, I kept trying until I could do it.
  2. BURPEES:  Okay, okay, okay.  I know a lot of you do these without breaking a sweat.  But, really, I didn’t think it would ever happen for me.  Chalene calls them “SUMO” but you know what she means.  You know you’ve got to try.  Until you CAN.  This week, I finally could.  And I was AMAZED.  This was the day I wrote my post “Amaze Yourself”.
  3. Core 20 + Stretch 40: In last week’s recap, I listed this as my least favorite workout of week 1.  After doing it each week, it’s moved to the favorite category.  It’s TOUGH.  But it WORKS YOUR CORE!  What I’ve learned is: your core really is the key to all movements, so you need to WORK IT.

Secret Weapons

  1. Shakeology: I suppose it’s really no secret, but I LOVE Shakeology.  It REALLY helps my symptoms and truly is the “Healthiest Meal of the Day”.  It gives you everything you need to FUEL your body and keep moving through the day.
  2. VegaSport: In watching TurboFire before beginning the program, Chalene mentioned drinking Beachbody Results and Recovery during workouts, especially HIIT workouts.  The thing is, it’s not vegan so I knew I couldn’t drink it.  So, I looked for a vegan option.  I found VegaSport.  Not only is it vegan, but it’s also formulated with ALL NATURAL ingredients. I use both the Pre-Workout Energizer and the Recovery Accelerator and LOVE THEM BOTH.  A great option if you want a natural way of soothing sore muscles after working out so hard.

Overall: Week 3

Hey, I did it!  I LOVE the challenge of TF and I love that your strength grows exponentially each time you workout.  My body is changing, I am growing stronger, and I feel better each day.  Actually, I feel AMAZING.  Fibromyalgia who?  Yep, it can kiss my grits.

See y’all next week for another recap!

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Get more info on Beachbody products here:

beachbodycoach.com/WendyGordon

myshakeology.com/WendyGordon

myultimatereset.com/WendyGordon

 


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Amaze Yourself!

Are you waiting for someone to come along and give you all the answers?  Someone to say, “This is how you will make your life better”?  Well, it ain’t gonna happen!  The thing about it is, this is YOUR life.  Take control of it.  Find the answers.  And do something to make your life better.  Make that choice.  And you just might be amazed.

I Can Do Anything!

Do you ever just feel invincible?  That’s what happens when you take control of your life.  When you start making positive changes.  Changes in your relationships, career, health, fitness, home, and anything else that might be bringing you down.  The changes I’ve made have led me down a path of amazement.  Amazement at MYSELF.  At the things I CAN do today that I COULD NOT do yesterday.  Sometimes, I just stop and think, “I’m amazing”.

Now, I don’t mean to sound cocky.  I’m anything but.  What I do mean to sound like is someone that is accomplishing something HUGE.  Someone that was completely incapacitated by a condition for the last 7 or 8 years that decided enough was enough.  Someone that took that condition by the b@!!$ and said, “you do NOT get to ruin my life anymore”.  That’s me.

And in so doing, I have been able to continuously grow in my abilities.  DAILY.  I wake up 6 days a week at 6am and workout.  I give it my all.  Today, I really had to stop and reflect on how far I’ve come this far and how amazing it really is.  I had to think about my inability to walk up a flight of stairs a few months back and my ability to do plyometric High Intensity Interval Training today and KILL it.  That’s amazing.  I had to think about the fact that I thought I would NEVER ever ever ever (times infinity) be able to hike and I do it EVERY DAY now.  I mean, can you see why I would say I amaze myself?

Do Something for YOU

The thing about what I’ve done is, while it does benefit those around me, I did it solely for MYSELF.  Every day when I workout, I do it for ME.  When I choose to eat healthy, I do it for ME.  What do you do for YOU?  Do you do enough for yourself?  Do you give yourself the opportunity to be AMAZING?  Go ahead, give it a try.  You just might achieve something you never thought you could.  The only way to find out?  Try.  Do something for you today!

AMAZE YOURSELF!

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Get more info on Beachbody products here:

beachbodycoach.com/WendyGordon

myshakeology.com/WendyGordon

myultimatereset.com/WendyGordon

 


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“No, You Can’t” | “Yes, I CAN”

IMG_3064We’ve all got ‘em.  Those opposing inner voices.  There’s the good one.  The one that believes in you.  Then there’s the naysayer.  The one that thinks you’re a quitter.  When you’ve got something like FM, those voices are always at it.  Especially the naysayer.  Whether you’re walking the dog or just trying to get out of bed, that voice is always trying to get you to give up.  To admit that you just can’t do it.  And, man, how do you shut that thing up???

Well, I wish I could say I have the answer.  But I don’t.  That voice has developed over many years — over a lifetime of experiences — negative and positive.  She has been “trained” to tell you “you can’t do this”.  That voice is still in my head trying to convince me to give up on this journey.  To believe I shouldn’t be doing this.  To go back to being unable to do anything.  And, well, she doesn’t get to win.  Ever.  Again.  Nancy Naysayer already had several years, now it’s time for Polly Positive to get a chance.

So, how do you ignore that voice?

How do you push past the negative images, feelings, words, and beliefs to find your inner strength?  To find the voice inside you that believes you can?  It’s not easy.  And it’s something you have to focus on always.  Like all things, it’s a choice.

  • You choose to believe. 
  • You choose to try. 
  • You choose to hear positive words rather than negative ones. 
  • You choose to motivate yourself.  
  • You choose to overcome.

How do you get through a HIIT workout when you have FM? 

How do you choose to tackle an intense 20-week fitness challenge when you could barely walk up a flight of stairs just a few months back? 

It’s all the same.  You make a choice.  You either try or you give up.  You either listen to Nancy Naysayer or Polly Positive.  Believe me, I’ve got the “I can’t” voice SCREAMING at me during some of my workouts.  But I also have Chalene Johnson yelling at me to PUSH harderAND I have ME.  I have the person that I choose to be.  I have the person that I am becoming.  I have the will to be healthier than ever and to continue to strive for more.

You’re not alone.  Everyone hears “no, you can’t” – sometimes it’s from within, sometimes it’s from friends or family.  DON’T LISTEN TO ANY OF THEM.  Only YOU can decide that.  It’s up to you.  Shut down the negative, elevate the positive.  You can do this! ‘Nuff said.

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Get more info on Beachbody products here:

beachbodycoach.com/WendyGordon

myshakeology.com/WendyGordon

myultimatereset.com/WendyGordon

 


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Recap: Beachbody TurboFire Challenge Weeks 1 & 2

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Dates: June 3 – June 16

Total Workouts: 12 (6 days a week, one much needed rest day per week)

Total Workout Duration: 570 minutes (aka 9 ½ hours)

Nutrition: Beachbody Shakeology DAILY; Vegan POWER Diet (that’s what I like to call it)

Unlike how I felt when entering the TurboJam challenge, when I began the TurboFire challenge, I KNEW I could do it.  I knew I would do it.  I also knew it wouldn’t be easy.  With that in mind, I started the challenge in Monday, June 3, 2013.

TF_product_configuration_170x100First Impressions

Well, you start with what’s called the “FireStarter” workout.  This is meant to familiarize you with the combos you’ll see for the next 20 weeks.  Yes, 20 weeks.  So, it would seem as though it would be a “light” workout.  Well, Chalene doesn’t do light workouts.  While it does take things a bit slower to teach you the key moves and it is MUCH lighter than the other TF workouts, it is still very challenging.  At least for me.  Especially considering I had just moved to a high altitude (8600 feet) city only 2 days prior.

My first impression of TurboFire?  Holy crap, this is going to get me in the best shape of my life.

Moving Through Each Workout – Week 1

Even after one day, I was already excited to get up the next morning and tackle another CHALLENGING workout.  I get up at 6 am every day – non-negotiable – and get my workout in before I start my day.  That’s how I start my day and I love it.  I put my workouts in my schedule so it shows up on my phone as well as my MacBook.  That adds a layer of accountability to the process — and something I need on days when I just don’t want to get out of bed.

  • Favorite Week 1 Workout: I think the workout that I was the most excited bout in week one was the Low HIIT 20 / Stretch 10 – just because I was SO excited to take on a HIIT workout. (High Intensity Interval Training).  I guess the main reason it was my favorite of week one was I DID IT!  Fire 45 EZ / Stretch 10 was pretty awesome too.
  • Least Favorite Week 1 Workout: Core 20 / Stretch 40.  Okay, seriously, I think I asked Chalene if she was crazy like 6 times during this workout.  Keep in mind, I’ve done yoga for years.  “Stretch 40” is a pseudonym for “I Will Kill You in 40 Minutes”.  Seriously though, I hated it because of how hard it was, but that makes me love it too.  I was sore until Thursday from this (I did it on a Saturday).  I know I will see a great deal of progress each week when I do this workout. And, yes, I will do it each week.

Finishing Up – Week 2

I think one of the most important things about doing a fitness challenge is that you celebrate every success – no matter how small. And, so I celebrated the fact that I finished week 1.  The fact that I did even better than I’d imagined I would. I was ready to tackle week 2!  What was really great about week 2 is that there were already things I couldn’t do in week 1 that I found I was able to do in week 2.  Now that’s progress!!!  Well, she really knows how to start it off – the first workout would be the longest one to date and it was TOUGH!

  • Favorite Week 2 Workout: Fire 45 EZ / Stretch 10.  This is SO MUCH FUN!  The energy is high and I feel motivated the entire time to just keep pushing harder.  Also, the Stretch 10 workout is amazing.  It feels so great after working so hard!
  • Least Favorite Week 2 Workout: Fire 55 EZ / Stretch 10.  Okay, I do love the Fire 45 EZ, but I wasn’t sure if I would survive the 55 minute version.  What I didn’t realize beforehand is that she sneaks in a HIIT about halfway through.  Really about killed me, but I REALLY DID IT.  YAY me.

Overall: Weeks 1 and 2

Closing comments: I DID IT.  That’s really all.  I started week 3 this morning and I’m already excited for my workout tomorrow.  I’m killing it – one workout at a time.  Thank you Chalene Johnson! 

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Get more info on Beachbody products here:

beachbodycoach.com/WendyGordon

myshakeology.com/WendyGordon

myultimatereset.com/WendyGordon